When he looks at J.R. Smith’s stat sheet from Sunday, Mike Woodson isn’t bothered by the 22 3-point shot attempts. He’s upset by the lack of free-throws.
“You can’t go 30-plus minutes and not shoot a free throw. Good scorers in this league, they’ve got to mix their game up. I’ve got to get him where he’s shooting 5-7 free throws,” Woodson said. “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t because he’s athletic enough. And I know he can put the ball down to the floor and get to the rim.”
Smith impressed some folks and annoyed some others by attempting an NBA record 22 threes in the Knicks’ loss to Miami on Sunday. He shot 10 alone in the fourth quarter, making five. Woodson on Monday praised Smith for keeping the Knicks in the game but added that he’d like to see him be more than one dimensional.
“I want J.R. to be a complete player,” the coach said.
Woodson was asked later on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “The Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco Show” if things would be different for the Knicks if Smith had been scoring like this throughout the season.
“Those are the unknowns, the what-ifs. It Tyson [Chandler] doesn’t go down three games into the regular season. There’s just been a number of things,” Woodson said. “I could have been better as a coach. You can point the finger there as well. As a coach, I take pride in what I do and I’ll never pass the buck on anybody. This season has been tough on a lot of people and I take full responsibility for that. At the end of the day we’ve got four games left and we’ve still got a shot [for a playoff berth].”
Martin, out since Feb. 3 with an ankle injury, said last week that he was getting closer to a return but didn’t provide any specific details. Bargnani has been out since Jan. 24 with a torn ligament in his left elbow.
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